Funny, Running Into You Like That (Or, The Accidental Photo Shoot)

Doug, Tanga and Tre, NYC, 5/5/11

On a dark and stormy night last December, reluctant to bother Franklin, who works nights at the garage where I park my car (and pay rent almost equal to what an apartment in a less frantic part of the world costs), and sure I’d be running upstairs for only 10 minutes, max, I left my station wagon on the street, around the corner from my building.

When I returned, fire engines penned in my car and for a nano-second I thought they were responding to a fire.  But the emergency was a three-car accident.  A cabbie, going south, blew through a red light, t-boning an SUV going west, which, after a 360 or two, slammed into the back of my legally-parked car, pushing it 20 feet down the street, onto the sidewalk and into a scaffolding.  The back crumpled into the middle row of seats.

The dazed (but miraculously uninjured) driver of the SUV and I looked at each other incredulously as the manic (and unscathed) taxi driver ignored his mayhem–and us– hysterically pacing, screaming into his cell phone.

Standing there, shivering in the sleet, Doug and I started laughing and becoming friends. He had been on his way to work, a few blocks south, and still planned on going.  He took a car seat and stroller out of his SUV.  I offered to keep them at my house until he could get them.  And picturing this big man with the little boy he’d been talking about, asked if I could photograph him and his son in my studio sometime.  Because I’m a phone-a-phobe, the sleet had given way to pollen by the time I called to set up the shoot with Doug, Tanga and Tre.

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